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how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

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Ed, I’ve lumped together responses to a number of your criticisms here.

Do you affirm divine authorship? Inerrancy? Infallibility? Self-Attestating?

Do you affirm that Jesus Christ is God, eternally existing in the triune God as the divine Son from all eternity? That He is God of very God being of the same divine substance with the Father and the Spirit?

To be honest, most of that language is so far from the language of scripture that I’ve no idea whether it’s an accurate statement of matters or not. Am I supposed to believe in the viewpoint of the church fathers or in scripture?

I would certainly affirm that the scriptures constitute a Spirit-inspired and reliable—though of course, incomplete—account of the faith of the people of God from very early days through to the end of the first century AD or thereabouts.  One element of that faith appears to have been a close and direct identification of Jesus with pre-existent divine wisdom.

If the NT is the product of the activites of the One Triune God, working through men, then the essence of that product would look very much like the same kind of document a committee might produce.

That is an assumption, not an argument. I believe that God spoke to his people through the untidy contingencies of their historical experience. Theology may require a single coherent voice, but history does not. I believe in the God of history rather than the God of theology. We probably differ there.

He says that Jesus was in the beginning with God. He says that Jesus is God. He says that all things came into existence through Jesus. Jesus created all things.

Are we talking about the same Gospel of John? My version says that the logos was with God, was God, was the means of creation, etc.

Well, I reject your position and request that you provide sound exegetical ground for your conclusion.

I think the onus is on you to show me that I’m wrong when I say that John does not use the wisdom motif to interpret or support an apocalyptic argument about Jesus being appointed as Lord and Christ by virtue of his resurrection. I don’t see good grounds for importing the theology of John into the Gospel of Mark.

The evidence, historical, exegetical, textual, and theological that Jesus burst onto the scene as God in human flesh is overwhelming. It is a settled issue in the Church and no settled issue ought to be reconsidered without compelling evidence.

It is not my intention to provide evidence against the view that “Jesus burst onto the scene as God in human flesh”. My intention is only to show that many of the passages that are used in defence of that theological conclusion are actually saying something else, and as far as the New Testament is concerned, something more important. I don’t seen anything in the synoptic Gospels to suggest that Matthew, Mark and Luke were trying to communicate the point that Jesus was God in human flesh. They were trying to say that Jesus would become king.

Namely, that only around 10-15% of the audiences in the Greco-Roman world were literate.

That’s irrelevant. You don’t have to be literate to share a worldview. On the one hand, people could listen to the scriptures being read; on the other, worldview is conveyed through numerous non-literary media.

The bigger problem is related to the percentage of NT writings that were directed toward an audience that would have even the foggiest idea of Jewish apocalyptic literature and Jewish interpretive paradigms, both necessary in order to understand the message.

Well, it seems pretty clear to me that Paul was taking a Jewish message via the synagogues of the diaspora to the Gentiles, and that he consistently dre on the Jewish scriptures in order to explain and defend it. I don’t really see what your problem is here. Under any hermeneutic you have to explain why there is so heavy a reliance the Old Testament and reconstruction of Jewish narratives in texts addressed to Gentile readers.

What did the Thessalonians make of the thoroughgoing and thoroughly Jewish apocalypticism of 2 Thessalonians 1:5-2:12?

Paul’s gospel was that YHWH had appointed his Son as Lord through the resurrection of the dead and that this had massive political-religious implications for the pagan world.The whole New Testament is essentially an apocalyptic argument to the effect that the God of Israel was about to lay claim to the entire oikoumenē. That, at least, is my narrative-historical reading of the New Testament. You will disagree with it, but I think it makes excellent biblical and historical sense.